Berberine inhibits growth of the breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231.Planta Med. 2008 Jan; 74(1):39-42.PM
The effects of berberine on the behavior of breast tumors have not yet been established. To determine whether this compound is useful in the treatment of breast cancer, we analyzed the impact of berberine on the human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. Berberine was added to proliferating MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells in culture. Following treatment, changes in cell growth characteristics such as proliferation, cell cycle duration, and the degree of apoptosis were assayed. Following berberine treatment, a time-dependent reduction in proliferation was observed in both cell lines at differing concentrations: 20 microM for MCF-7 and 10 microM for MDA-MB-231 cells. Annexin V staining showed an increase in apoptosis in both cell lines of 31 % in MCF-7 and 12 % in MDA-MB-231 cells compared to their respective controls. In addition, 12 % of the MCF-7 cells were arrested at G0/G1, compared to 62 % of control cells. These results demonstrate that treatment with berberine inhibits growth in both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. In addition, they show that this partly occurs through the induction of apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells, and through both cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis in MCF-7 cells. Thus, berberine may be a novel therapeutic drug for breast cancer.